Subaru’s back-to-basics four-wheel drive authenticity gives the XV lots of appeal.

It’s far more the proper, old-fashioned, go-anywhere 4x4 shrunken down than the overgrown family five-door that the crossover class is used to.

The 1.6-litre petrol's emissions better those of the 2.0-litre diesel, but the diesel's the preferable choice

As one tester put it, it’d make a great car for rural midwifes and entrepreneurial veterinarians.

The plough-your-own-furrow charm doesn’t completely paper over some rather obvious cracks in the XV’s résumé, though.

This Subaru performs, handles and rides with too much compromise to appear as much more than a speck on the urban set’s horizon; rivals such as the Qashqai, Kuga, Ateca or CX-5 offer much more competent overall packages, although admittedly at a premium in some cases.

Subaru's XV is also hindered by a price that could be more competitive for the more desirable models, disappointing cabin space and potentially fearsome depreciation. 

Tough and indefatigable, the XV will appeal to Subaru’s existing bucolic customer – but it’s too rough and ready to win success more broadly. Fear not though, as the 2018 iteration aims to take the XV to a whole new level with its improved architecture, more inticing interior and better refinement and on road characteristics. Only time will tell if it's enough to make those at the crossover helm look over their shoulders nervously or if the XV remains the bit-part player it is currently.


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